Just like demanding kids, pushy and demanding dogs are constantly seeking attention and want what they want when they want it – in a nutshell, they are hard work. 

What’s more, if an attention seeking dog gets what he wants whenever he demands something, he is likely to view you as a follower – and this could lead to potentially serious behaviour problems.

Demanding Dog Behaviour

If your dog is demanding and pushy, you are likely to see him:

  • Nudging you, pawing or barking at you or jumping on you to get your attention
  • Dropping toys into your lap to get you to play with him
  • Barking at you when he wants feeding
  • Scratching at doors so you open them for him
  • Obsessively barking when you put him into a place where he cannot get to you
  • Grabbing at your hands or touching any other part of you with his mouth
  • Waking you up (often at unearthly hours) in the mornings

So Why Does Your Dog Act Like This?

When dogs get what they want by being pushy, they ultimately end up taking on the role of leader in your relationship. Once this happens, they start ignoring what you want unless you have something for them. The reason they do this is simple: in the world of animals, leaders do not take orders/directions from their followers.

Most pushy, demanding dogs are not being ‘dominant’ over their owners. They behave in this fashion because they have learned to behave like this. Your dog has simply leaned that being demanding and pushy is the quickest, easiest way to get what he wants – and once he knows that he can tell you what to do, he will – which is why in many homes, the dog runs the show. All said and done, your dog does not lead because he is dominant. He leads because he is spoiled.

Teaching Your to Be Less Demanding

There are many ways in which you can teach your dog to behave in a less demanding, pushy manner. Some of these ways include:

  • Completely ignoring 99 per cent of your dog’s pushy and demanding behaviours from now on – which is where the “no touch, no talk, no eye contact” rule comes into action. When your dog gets pushy and demanding, it is best to behave as though he is not in the room.
  • Expectation vs Invitation is a good rule to live by. If your dog expects and gets something when he demands it, he gets very pushy & controlling.  Having to wait for an invitation to get things, on the other hand, helps him to be respectful and calm.
  • Ignoring your dog (no touch, no talk, no eye contact) when he demands affection. The best way for you to give him affection is to call him to you. When he comes to you, give him lots of love – he did, after all, do something for you. If he doesn’t come, go and get him to give yourself the opportunity to follow through (and following through is very important!) with what you asked him to do. It is, by the way, perfectly fine to invite your dog to come and sit on your lap when he is not demanding it.
  • Completely ignoring your dog if he barks at you while feeding him. Only continue the process of feeding him once he stops barking and calms down. If you continue feeding him while he is barking and/or jumping, he will learn that this kind of behaviour will get food into his bowl. If, on the other hand, you stop and wait for him to be calm, he learns that this behaviour puts food into his bowl.
  • Instead of playing with him when the drops a toy on you, keep a “special” toy on top of a cabinet or the fridge that you will play with when YOU wish to play. Keeping a ball or toy out of his reach until you want to play makes that toy/ball and, of course, the games you will play even more special to him.  Do make sure not to go and get the toy if/when he barks at it!!
  • Waiting for your dog to calm before letting him out of his crate.
  • Waiting for your dog to calm before inviting him onto the sofa with you.

There are some levels of touch that must be corrected and cannot be ignored. If your dog jumps on your back, for instance, when you ignore him, or if he climbs onto you while you are sitting down, he must be corrected.

Always waiting for your dog to be respectful and calm before giving him what he wants is a subtle yet powerful way to convey your leadership and teach your dog good manners.

Expert Advice

Pushy, demanding behaviour can sometimes be a sign of stress and anxiety. If you cannot get your dog to change his demanding ways and believe this may be due to your dog suffering with anxiety or stress, our experienced dog behaviourists may be able to help. Give us a call on 07776761289 or use our online contact form today to learn more, get helpful advice and/or arrange an appointment for us to meet your dog.